Sunday, 30 December 2012

Working for Free

This is a short post about exactly what the title says - working for free. I can't say I often thought about whats it like to work for free (probably because I've never done it), until a couple of weeks ago. Our intern asked me to help fill out his hours in the new reporting system, and voila, my eyes wander to the "RATE" field. I don't know if I could contain my surprise (as well and disappointment and bitterness) when I saw that the guy's rate was a grand of $0.00/hour. Yup, for four months he was putting in good work for us, for FREE. The funny thing is, whats the point of putting in the hours if you're not getting paid for them?! Oh well...I guess someone else gets billed for them and somebody higher and mightier gets paid for them.

How is it even possible to to live in Toronto, go for coffee breaks and for drinks with your coworkers while not getting paid. You have to be really well off to afford to do that. And yet I wonder, how many other people are here in this city, getting fucked up the ass their work experience this way. Doing work and hoping that after they'll be able to land a real job here or elsewhere. But what are they gonna fill out on their job application?

 Shitty Corp. Sept/12-Dec/12 $0.00/hour, requested rate: x/hour?

Is the recruiter really gonna consider giving them that x/hour, or say - "aha, another sucker! We'll start this one on the bottom."

Maybe its just that I believe that people should be fairly compensated for their work, and its not part of the neomodernist thinking (yeah I made that term up), but I can't understand this system. How can this fraud just continue going on and on, people giving their time, and hence their life, for "experience". Unpaid internships/volunteer positions demand real effort, dedication and time but give back no real compensation. Such scams just should not exist in this day and age.

Friday, 2 November 2012

$30/hour is Nothing in Toronto

"There are three ways to make money. You can inherit it. You can marry it. You can steal it."
- Italian Proverb

I've chosen the least popular, but the most common of all, to work for it. After all its hard to think anything else when you hear “The max I can give you is $30/hour”. Thats how much I was worth to them with nearly two years of internships and a year of consultancy at a start up (e-commerce development, e-commerce over mobile devices) before being bought out and given the boot. That’s how much a large corp. values a young professional in Toronto. And hence, the name of this entry "$30/hour is Nothing in Toronto".

A friend of mine recently asked for help on a placement aptitude test with a Big Co. in Markham. This reminded me of my own interview with Big Co. that had occurred over a year ago, ironically the test I had to take was called "identify the best". In my mind it was difficult for me to tie being identified as the best, but being offered a barely average wage. This was a software development position (involving, besides that: consulting, onsite client work, customer outreach). Did I mention unpaid overtime? If you want to guess the corp - think the really big one with high turn over rate and slow invisible workforce cuts. Either way, have you ever noticed how time slows down when you feel the adrenaline from getting a job offer? In bare seconds (perhaps even faster if you've been out of work for a while) you can weight all the pros and cons, and the decision seems apparent without any conscious calculation at all.

Lets see, excluding (largely useless benefits and miserable 2 week/yr vacation time): 
$30 per hour = $62,400 per year = 0.78($62,400) = $48,672 after tax/per year. $4,056/month. Lets say we forget RRSP and all that bull.

Here's a table of monthly expenses that went through my mind of how far that amount can get me, with current arrangements highlighted.

With Parents Rent 2bdr Condo with a Roomate Rent 1bdr Condo by Myself Buy a 2bdr Condo (Mortgage + Fees + Utilities)
Living Arrangements $0 $750 $1,300 $2,500
Food $0 $400 $400 $400
Car Insurance $300 $300 $300 $300
Gas $200 $200 $200 $200
Cable + Cell Phone $40 $80 $80 $80
Entertainment* $500 $300 $300 $300
Activities (Gym, Group Classes) $155 $155 $155 $155
Total Expenses $1,195 $2,185 $2,735 $3,935
Left over $2,861 $1,871 $1,321 $121
* Entertainment expenses would be higher if I had to move back with parents, meaning hotel fees on lucky nights.

Are there any objections to any of the above being necessary for proper life for a guy in his 20s? I mean, not just surviving, I am sure its possible to survive on $10/h, everyone who serves coffee in Timmies does, but living life. Being able to live in a nice place in a decent area, being independent of the public transit system (essential, unless your date is an artsy enviromentalist and thats how you get her to the restaurant), progressing physically and mentally, enjoying the night life this city has to offer (one of the few upsides in toronto, imo). I am not demanding anything outrageous like financing a new M5/S5, with a grand/month just for that and another one for insurance, what I am demanding is being able to live in the first world, and not in a third world within the first world. Being able to get up everyday and tell to myself what a wonderful new day it is, instead of dreading another 24 hours of drudgery.

I am not even asking for a proper wage to get on the property ladder in this city, which is impossible for anyone but trust fund babies and lottery winners. Selling myself to the bank for 30 years is not a consideration obviously. Check out FML Listings for "gold nuggets" of Toronto's real estate market and how much they go for, and tell me if its realistic for a young professional to get a place of his own in this city.

Am I demanding? Yes. Privileged? No. Requiring the employer to pay what you're worth is not a privilege, its an option which should be a right. Unfortunately the majority of friends I keep in touch with (from the uni days, not the startup days, these two groups are entirely different in ability and character) hold a different opinion - the man with the money is king and any scraps of the table are good enough. The sucker for punishment attitude never got anyone anywhere except to the bottom.

I wondered, how long would it take me to save at that rate (assuming raises at big co just keep up with inflation) to save for a 25% downpayment on a $350,000 2bdrm condo? Thats an optimisitic price on the outskirts of the city. On the younge line, a 2bdrm condo goes for $450,000 on first bid, check out It would take 46 months. Nearly 4 years to switch from renting with room-mates to being a mortgage slave for the next 10 years with $121 in my pocket at the end of the month. Now try telling me that $30/hour is something in Toronto.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Filipina Caregivers are Sеx Slavеs for Canadian Seniors

Disclaimer: this article might make you depressed and lose hope in humanity. I included something to lift the spirit at the end!

First of all this entry is not some out of control aspect of my imagination, this entry grounded in reality. How often do you see a young Filipina caregiver with some old wrinkled senior about to kick the bucket? Do you think their relationship is solely professional? Let me tell of you of a discussion I had with a Filipina who works in the industry during my flight to the Germany.

This summer finally managed to get the time and throwaway cash to visit my relatives in my partial historic homeland, Ukraine (the topic of 2nd generation immigrants will be explored later, too many gold nuggets there to describe them all here). Transfer through Frankfurt, OK. Got a seat next to two ladies, a Filipino and a Russian. Eventually they start to chat amongst each other, I listen in, the Filipina is very talkative. Turns out they both take care of seniors here in Canada, will try to summarize the Filipina’s experience below:

Came to Canada on an agreement, tied to one company. Working 6 days/week, practically no breaks, full day caregiver work. Cooking, cleaning, watching them take their meds. First assigned to some 90 yrs old, senile guy of Georgian/Jewish/Georgian-Jew descent, she never figured it out. His son is a cop (the kicker is coming later), wants nothing to do with daddy. On the very first day told her he loved her, tried to snuggle up to her, was attempting to kiss her arm. Barely got him to stop by threatening him with his walking stick. As time goes the senile fuck is coming onto her stronger and stronger. One morning wouldn’t eat till she promised him she’ll sleep with him that night. Told me she did that cause he’s so senile he wouldn’t remember what you tell him five minutes later. That night, he did remember (she stays over at his apartment to monitor the guy). Imagine that, you’re sleeping after a hard days, ungrateful work when some 250lb shit plops at you. That’s what she felt. Pushed him off, the guy falls on the ground, isn’t moving. Thought she killed him.

                                         There is no stopping horny old men!

Eventually he gets up, and starts “chasing” her all over his apartment. Remember, its dark as fuck, she didn’t turn on the lights. The whole night she spent crawling from under table to table as he was poking under with his walking stick trying to get her out.

She told us she did talk to the old fuck’s son afterwards, and guess what – he paid her $250 for her additional “help and troubles”, and that was that. Bravo copper! Not that I realistically would expect him to take any action against his own father, but still. To be honest, I was chuckling when I listened to her story, but imagine the fear she felt.... Maybe the title “Filipina Caregivers are Sеx Slavеs for Canadian Seniors” is a bit exaggerated, but it is not a longshot extrapolation from this incident. Things like these are rarely discussed and more often than not sweeped under the carpet since they don’t have equal rights and protections. Modern day slavеry. When I get a bit more time, I’ll write an entry concerning different immigrant groups, and their overall treatment by this society, since being on both sides of the fence, I am quite qualified to write on that topic.

To finish on a positive note, if you're looking for a nice hot caregiver, I'd check out our own local Canadian ones, right here, on Nanny Services. Just search 21-26 age range.

Here are my picks:
                                  Erin, you better have stripper pole at your place for this one!
                                 Alison. (Eur)Asian persuasion style? No doubt great massages                                                   alternating with delicious Limburgish vlaai desserts.
Kelsie: a village girl with a heart and very likely some other special skills.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Drunk Driving Corrects Declining First World Birth Rates

For my first blog entry I wanted to share something personal, yet relevant to all. Today being the morning after some crazy Halloween parties, the topic I want to share is the one of drunk driving.This isn’t just an entry about how pouring down 3 heinekens and 2 shots of grey goose helps you get pussy at the weekend rave, or intercept it when its mindlessly walking around at 2 am, trying to hail a cab. It goes further than that. I am exploring the societal aspects of drunk driving.

The supposed cons of drunk driving are well know – getting yourself and/or someone else killed, but how come noone has stated the hidden societal benefits?! That, ladies and gentlemen is because we live in a nation where politically correct cowardice and do-(little)-gooder attitude prevails. I’m gonna state an argument which might sound absurd at first look but is sound – drunk driving helps, not retards the population growth rate. Let me follow up with a short personal anecdote….

On a cold November night my mates and yours truly went downtown Toronto to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Obviously drinking heavily to shrug the cold, not noticing the amounts while enjoying the good camaraderie. Had an amazing time at the Bier Market, then walking around King st getting in a few shots of good rum mixed with coffee. Everyone’s having a great time, except the birthday boy had too much and needs some food from a local MCd. Leave him there with the rest of corp. and take a buddy of mine to go look for the car. Don’t remember where I parked, miss it completely, and keep walking up on Spadina. We catch up to two girls, I blurt out – “Are you girls having a good night?”. One (first rate – pretty face, slim physique, jacket covering up to the butt, nylons) stops and laughingly says yes, the other (second rate) pulls her away. Long story short, we did stop them and convinced to go for some food together (2:30 am already). Gave them a lift to second rate’s home (parents home unfortunately), the chick took my number, called me up n I got hers. Arranged to meet for drinks next weekend.

Meet them for drinks, fun double date, drinking games, lots of fun info exchanged (they slept together last weekend, and share a bed every time they stay over at second rate’s), make out, petting.  Decide to go to take a walk in a park to get the booze out, first rate and myself lose my buddy and second rate. No answer from my buddy, guessing he’s already in on the 2nd rate. My girl and I go to the car, crazy kino while walking, she wants it bad. Takes off her shoes, nylons, starts coming on to me, I take her bra off…rdy to go but my little friend isn’t up for performing right now. Decide to drive her to a hotel and enjoy some good time together.

Long story short – drunk dick not responding to advances of this sweety, plastic is definitely in the way. Decide to just sleep it off and do it in the morning. Wake up in the middle of the night (probably more like early morning), head full of booze, but the bayonet is ready. Fuck her on and off till morning, no condoms, nothing. Drive her home in the morning, never answered my calls afterwards.
Moral of the story: possibly one more person added to this planet and this country’s miserable birth rate slightly corrected. For every person who dies in DUI, more are born because of it. Another counterproductive, silly law debunked.

T.O. Denizen out